NEW MEXICO – New Mexico’s governor announced the recipients of $10 million in funding through the Food Security Grant to invest in infrastructure improvements to the state’s food system, part of a larger $24 million investment to address hunger.
Joined by leaders of The Food Depot, which serves nine counties in northern New Mexico, the governor announced that the funding has been awarded to 40 projects in 26 counties that will benefit an estimated 477,000 New Mexicans – about a quarter of the state’s population.
“This historic funding will revolutionize the way we address food insecurity and improve the state’s food distribution system as a whole, getting more fresh food to children, families, students and seniors across New Mexico,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham.
The Food Depository received $1.4 million to launch Food Mobile Dos, a mobile grocery store that will serve 43 rural, frontier and tribal locations in seven northern New Mexico counties. 12,600 people will receive up to 262,500 additional meals per month as a result of this one-time investment.
“Food insecurity in a state the geographic size of New Mexico is not easy to address. These initiatives have certainly had a positive impact to help us in our fight against hunger,” said Lorenzo Alba Jr, Executive Director of the Pilgrim House in Doña Ana County.
Projects considered for the $10 million in Food Security Grant funding included food refrigeration and cold storage, vehicles, kitchen equipment for preparing and serving meals, and facility renovations.
Other priorities were mobile distribution models for communities that do not have access to grocery stores or food retailers and start-up/seed funding for innovative projects that increase access to local food for low-income New Mexicans. Of the $10 million, 50% was awarded to state food banks and pantries, and the remainder to nonprofit farmer cooperatives, food distribution centers, schools and senior centers.
Projects awarded include $1.8 million for a new food distribution center in Grants. The project will partner with NMSU’s Grants Container Farm and NMSU Cooperative Extension to expand opportunities for educational programming and hydroponically grown fresh produce.
Also awarded $1.4 million to The Food Depot in Santa Fe for a mobile food pantry that offers produce and meat, as well as shelf-stable and prepared foods, and will serve 43 new sites in seven northern New Mexico counties.
In addition, $417,834 went to Bernalillo Public Schools for a youth-led food truck program that will distribute hot meals on school campuses and in surrounding communities. 176,700 went to the Pueblo of Pojoaque to purchase cold storage, vehicles and greenhouse equipment for the Pueblo’s Agriculture/Bison program, which provides fresh, local crops and bison to tribal members in an effort to reduce obesity and diabetes.
The Anthony Youth Farm received $101,500 to upgrade the youth training farm’s irrigation system, tractor equipment and cold storage, which will provide a 25% increase in school meals and ag boxes for distribution.